By Lisa Pett
The trial began Wednesday for a Wausau man accused of beating and robbing two men inside their Plover apartment in September of 2013.
Maurice Holt, 32, is one of three men who were accused of holding Noah Pavelski and Spencer Mlodik at gunpoint, beating them and threatening to kill them if they called the police.
In his opening statement to the twelve-person jury, Assistant District Attorney Cass Cousins described the incident as a “violent, senseless crime.” He told the jury that the victims were threatened, punched, kicked and held against their will while the three men ransacked the apartment.
He also explained that two of the men, Lyndell Dale and Archie Biddle IV, have already been convicted of the crimes of battery and armed robbery.
Cousins said that ultimately, witness testimony, including the victims and the investigating police officers, would prove that Holt was the third man who committed the crime.
Dale, who was an acquaintance of Pavelski and Mlodik, was identified immediately after the robbery. Further investigation led detectives to Biddle. Then Cousins told the jury how detectives traced the stolen guitars to Jerry’s Music in Wausau on October 1, 2013. An employee there told police that a man identified as Holt sold two guitars matching those stolen in the robbery, claiming they were his.
After police obtained a warrant and searched Holt’s Wausau home, they found many of the items reported stolen, including an iPod engraved with Pavelski and Mlodik’s roommate’s name and phone number, and a Nintendo DS3 with Spencer Mlodik’s gaming profile programmed into it.
In the defense’s opening statement, attorney Jay Kronewetter, said the evidence that would be presented by the state is circumstantial and that alibi witnesses for the defense would prove that Holt was not the third man, and was not, in fact, in Plover at the time the crime was committed.
“Descriptions of the third individual do not match Holt.” he said, “He [Holt] was not [at the] scene, did not plan the crime and was not involved.”
The trial is expected to last three days and is being presided over by Judge Edward Zappen, a retired from Wood County Circuit Court, who is filling in until a replacement is found for Judge John Finn.